Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dear Neil

Did you mention that Platter's is a guide while Mondial is a competition? Don’t think so, but please prove me wrong.  While this competition has some impressive logistics – 8400 wines tasted by 320 judges in three days – it’s a physiological fact that after assessing around 6-8 wines in succession, a taster’s ability to accurately assess a wine continuously declines? Or did you each have around 26 wines to taste over three days? Or does it mean that around 6000 of the Mondial wines were simply not given a fair shout? Does the perfect wine competition exist? No it doesn't, but please prove me wrong.

Entry into Mondial cots €144 per wine (around R1500) whereas Platter costs 2 bottles per entry now with cheaper delivery to regional tasting centres.

I have found broad consensus within the trade and the public that the wines which perform in these competitions are the outliers, not necessarily for quality, but rather a touch of over extraction here, a dollop of residual sugar there, a hint of VA to lift aromatics etc. Can you drink more than a glass? No is often the cry.

If you believed in robust debate you wouldn’t be deleting comments from your blog. Have you ever criticized a wine competition of which you have been a judge? Don’t think so, but please prove me wrong. 

Link to Dear Neil I


  1. Oooooh, a wine-journo fight! I love these.

  2. @Spit or Swallow - it must be Neil Jewell he's talking about. I can see the bread and charcuterie flying.

  3. yes love the offal he uses.

  4. A 2009 judge on scoring at the Concours:
    "The results are finally in from last month's Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, where I was one of 225 judges from around the world. I sat on a 5-judge panel in a competition organized differently from most: we didn't debate our scores, but instead just turned in scoresheets that were later tabulated and adjusted according to our grading tendencies. In other words, if I was a tough grader, my scores were, in theory, boosted up."

  5. @anonymous how much $ per Mondial entry?

  6. Around € 135 per entry it seems. Not very profitable with 320 judges, depending on how they're paid. That might explain the list of unknowns from other countries judging. The competition is not a big deal in EU. The ones that matter are Decanter and IWC, even in the Northern continental countries. In French supermarkets it would be Hachette mentions and the various agricultural awards like Concours General which would count for something.

    1. Thanks for that, so the French do care about awards?

      Thats roughly ZAR 1400 per entry, while Platter's entry costs 2 sample bottles per entry. But as I pointed out one is a competition, the other a guide.